Previously known as Boophilus microplus, and then as Rhipicephalus microplus.
1 host tick. Ticks moult from larvae to nymph and nymph to adult on the one host.
Cattle are the preferred host of cattle tick, however, heavy infestations may also occur on deer, bison and buffalo. These are considered high risk cattle tick carriers. Horses, camels, goats, sheep, llamas, vicuña, guanacos and alpacas can also carry cattle tick, but they are considered low-risk carriers. Occasionally, they can also be found on marsupials, cats, feral pigs and dogs.
Larval, nymph and adult ticks remain on a single host for 18 to 35 days (3 weeks on average).
Cattle tick are endemic (regularly found) in higher rainfall areas and occur in a broad band following the general outline of the northern Australian coast from north eastern Western Australia to the eastern border between Queensland and New South Wales (Figure 4).
The best way to diagnose tick infestations before productivity losses occur is to regularly conduct tick screening. Adult stages are the easiest to find and identify. Ticks are seldom seen unless in large numbers, or until females are near engorgement (4.5-8 mm), 1-2 days before they drop (Figure 5). Unfortunately signs of infestation can occur after significant blood loss (and therefore production loss) has already occurred. These signs can also occur with other parasites and diseases.
Figure 5. Adult female cattle ticks at various stages of engorgement. Image courtesy of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
There are a number of acaricide products and a variety of application methods (dip, drench, pour-on and injectable) that can be used against cattle tick. Your choice will depend on:
Your decision can be assisted by using the Treatment page a simple tool that considers some of the points above.
The impact of cattle tick can be reduced by cattle breed selection. Bos indicus cattle (tropical breeds) and their crosses develop better resistance to tick infestations than do Bos taurus cattle (British and European breeds). Within a breed it is also possible to select cattle for increased cattle tick-resistance.
Integrated tick control programs that have been developed for different regions across Australia. To reduce the build-up of acaricide resistant ticks within populations it is also important to consider other parasites when treating.